Re: This underlines one more thing
"New ETOPS rules, originating (who would have guessed) from the USA led to a lot of new competition that the A380 had not been designed to deal with."
ETOPS was on the drawing board since the 767. Increases in ETOPS range were inevitable, plugging the 'holes' that twin engine aircraft couldn't operate through. Airbus had plenty of time to see that coming. Likewise, engine capabilities have improved as time goes by. Fuel consumption and reliability numbers are things that a competent designer could easily extrapolate.